[Marxism] Question on FRETECO and occupied factories in Vnz

Joonas Laine jjonas at nic.fi
Sun Apr 26 03:08:06 MDT 2009

Last friday I attended a meeting organised by the left-leaning branches 
of the Finnish Metal Workers' Union. Mostly we discussed the dominating 
social-democrats' plans for a massive merger with five smaller unions, a 
process which would ultimately mean abolishing the 110 year old MWU. In 
addition to this, we also had a guest from Venezuela, Euler Calzadilla, 
who represented FRETECO, the coordinating organisation for factories 
under workers management in Vnz. He told us the broad outlines of the 
developments under Chávez, and what FRETECO is and what it is doing.

During questions and answers, I asked him (through an interpreter, as 
none of us spoke spanish) how many factories are under workers' 
management (in the FRETECO sense, which I understood to be different 
than the perhaps more widespread state 51% - workers 49% "shareholder" 
model), and how many workers are within FRETECO activities and 
factories. The answer was, there's 12 factories under FRETECO type 
workers management, and the number of workers involved is 300. "How 
many..?" i asked to confirm, and the interpreted repeated: 300.

Now, I noticed several problems with the interpreter, who clearly wasn't 
familiar with either the pecualiarities of the workers' movement (e.g. 
strike and lock-out were confused) or the developments in Venezuela; for 
example, she confused coup d'etat (vallankaappaus) and revolution 
(vallankumous), and I couldn't be sure just how she translated my 
question to comrade Euler, or how she translated his answer to us.

It was my impression that FRETECO probably is not a massive 
organisation; 12 factories under what I understood to be relatively 
strict guidelines sounded feasible, though certainly with all the hype 
about socialism in Venezuela one might be pardoned to have thought the 
developments might have been more advanced. But 300 workers involved?? 
The factories under workers management must be very small in that case, 
and it doesn't sound right. 300 sounds more like the number of workers 
*deputies* that take part in FRETECO meetings (or something), and I 
don't know how many workers they represent there.

Does anyone know how many workers are working in the factories under 
FRETECO type workers management?

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